MTB 670

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
jonco
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MTB 670

Postby jonco » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:16 pm

I have previously posted questions under ML's 122 and 563 in relation to the service record of my late father William Aubrey Jones JX 300350. His service record showed him on numerous bases but only on tenders ML122(Home Waters), ML 563 ( Mediterranean) and HMS Grecian ( Home Waters - post hostilities). There are a number of gaps between the the service record and verbal recollections and war-time photographs which have intrigued me. On the suggestion of Admin I applied for his full service records. Unfortunately the reply only showed the same tenders served on above. However, his medals record shows him on MTB 670 from Oct 44 to Jun 45 which ties in with a number of photos in his war-time album. These photos also include MTB 697 and MTB 634 and some crew members including ¬Lofty'Turner, Terry Feenan and Alf Cook . Refer to samples at the end of this post.

The following entry appears in war diaries :

13 April 45 British motor torpedo boats MTB-670 and MTB-697 torpedoed and sunk the torpedo boat TA-45.

Admin/Brian Holmes has kindly supplied the following info in a separate topic:
MTB 670

Design Type: Fairmile D, Motor Torpedo Boat
Construction Yard: Wallasea Bay Yacht Yard of Rochford, UK
Completion Date: Mar 1943
Notes: Lost on passage Malta-Alexandria 30 January 1946

For operations ln the Adriatic and the Aegean
Temporary Lieutenant Eric Hewitt RNVR DSC
Able Seaman Wilfred Turner C/JX 374043 RN DSM
Able Seaman Leslie Byhurst Boswell C/JX 301773 RN MID
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant John King Finlay RNVR MID
Petty Officer Motor Mechanic Andrew Newall Goplen P/MX 117307 RN MID
Able Seaman James Thomas William Holdway C/JX 373750 RN MID

For an attack on enemy forces in the Planinski channel on 12 Apr 1945
Temporary Lieutenant Eric Hewitt RNVR DSC
Able Seaman Thomas Conway C/JX 559543 RN MID
Able Seaman Henry Harrison C/JX 542116 RN MID
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant James Oliver Young RNVR MID

For the surrender of German naval forces in the Adriatic
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant John King Finlay RNVR MID

The London Gazette entry for the second of actions listed may be read online by clicking the link provided. The actual citation reads:
For courage, audacity and skill shown whilst serving in the 59th M.T.B. Flotilla, in an engagement with a superior German force on the I2th-13th April off the coast of Jugoslavia during the course of which an enemy destroyer was sunk.
MTB 670 - Ancona.jpg
MTB 670 - Ancona - `loading fish'.jpg
MTB 670 in dry dock Ancona.jpg
MTB 670 - Some of the crew on the foc'sle.jpg
Lofty Turner on MTB 670.jpg
Terry Feenan - MTB 670.jpg

Croatian Navy
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Croatian Navy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:04 pm

This boat was involved in destruction of German conwoy in night of 7th August 1944 near island of Vir when MFP-963 and 968 was sunked.
I will write the story about that once.

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:31 pm

Thank you for that information - I will read with interest. This action was before my father had joined her. He was on ML 563 on that date but she was sunk on the 16th August during Dragoon landings off south of France. He joined MTB 670 in October '44 but I don't know where he was inbetween.
Cheers Colin (jonco)

Croatian Navy
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Croatian Navy » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:35 pm

If you have any other photos, please post them here. I would like to put them in my text. of course I will put you as a source.

retr
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Re: MTB 670

Postby retr » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:32 am

Hi Jonco (Colin)

Great photos, they were brave young men, it's something to be proud of. I hope you find out more about your dads Naval Service. Good luck!

Kind Regards
Rita Moylan

retr
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Re: MTB 670

Postby retr » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:30 pm

Hi Jonco

I have finally received my Dad's service record and it shows him on MTB 670 from 8th March 1943 till 3rd February 1944 after looking at your post I am sure this was before you dad served on it though, at least I can see the boat he was on, thanks to your photos.

Kind Regards
Rita Moylan

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:44 pm

my father Henry Palgrave served on mtb 670 44/45 he sadly died in 2002 i have been researching his naval history ever since with a veiw to writing a story or making a documentary about he and his mates on 670 have some stories he talked about but it was difficult to get him to speak about it

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:22 am

Rita,

Glad the photos are of use and the information supplied by others is of interest. They may have missed each other on 670 but still been part of the same flotilla. Service record info can be sketchy and do not show temporary allocations. My father was on ML563 in the Mediterranean in Aug 44 when it was sunk - the next record of him was on 670 in the Adriatic from mid October 44 (however this posting does not show on his actual service record). No idea where he was inbetween?

David,

Sounds as if they were shipmates for a while. I presume you do not recognise your father on any of the photos above but hope they are of interest to you anyway. My father also died in 2002 - during his life he spent holidays throughout Europe but my mother says he would never go back to Italy (presumably due to bad memories).

regards
Colin (jonco)

Croatian Navy
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Croatian Navy » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:08 pm

@jonco, You father was not only in Italy. He was also in Croatia during war. MTB 670 had a base in island of Vis.

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:53 pm

@croatian navy - Yes I realise this but I have not been able to tie this in to his timeline on 670 - if you have info please advise.
His photos seem to be Italian based i.e Naples, Ancona, La Maddelena, Zara etc. There is one photo ( not very good) with the caption ` on patrol - Yugoslavian PT's following' but I do not know where/when this was taken and can only assume it was taken from MTB 670. He also spent time in Algeria and Malta and there are a few photos in these locations.

I think his main problem with returning to Italy was the memory of the death of his best friend and shipmate following the loss of ML 563. This man died of his wounds some weeks after the sinking and is buried in Caserta Cemetery, Near Naples.

Croatian Navy
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Croatian Navy » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:10 am

@jonco, You gave answer on question what You write to me :)

Zara is Croatian town of Zadar, so Your father was in my country - Croatia ex. Yugoslavian Republic.
Also Zadar is my home town and it had very turbulent history. Now why You think Zadar or Zara (Italian name for Zadar) was in Italy. Till year 1918 Zadar was part of Croatia and Croatia was part of Austro-Hungary Empire. After capitulation in ww1, Italy occupied very big part of Croatian coast (because Great Britain gave premision for that to Italy in year 1915 as s gift because Italy enter the war on GB side). So from year 1918 till 1944 my town Zadar was part of Italy. Because of that history shame You think that Your father was not in any Croatian port.

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:01 am

@croatian navy

Apologies and thank you for the information. Initially when I did not know where Zara was I did a search on Google Earth and the only location that came up was on the Italian coast south of Ancona. I assumed this was correct - stupid mistake sorry.

colin
(jonco)

Admin
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:24 pm

Here are just a few names of officers for MTB 670 obtained recently from the Navy List for June 1944

Temporary Lieutenant A.S. Rendell RNCVR (in command)
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant J.K. Findlay
Temporary Sub-Lieutenant J.O. Young

Peter
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Peter » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:31 pm

It is with great interest that i read the story of MTB 670 , having spent much time serving in the Island campaign from October 1943 until April 1945 on MTB 243 and later MGB 647 the action reported in the Planinsky Channel reminded me of our last action which took place on April 10th 1945 in that area with MGB 647 , when on Patrol with another D Boat the number I cannot recall an engagement took place with 3 F lighters and 2 E Boats during the engagement we were hit by an 88mm through the deck of the Coxn and MM cabin which blew a hole in the side thankfully above the water line which meant we had to withdraw from the action and return to Karlobag , with the great seamanship of our C/O Lt Mountstephens we finally made it back to Zara as it was then named and with the skil of the shipwrights of the Cruiasa HMS Columbo stationed in Zara at the time we were made seaworthy to progress to Ancona and then finally the long journey to Island of Ischia ( 0ff Naples ) for extensive repairs . It was a miracle that no crew member was hurt in that action

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:22 pm

Hello Petro,

Have you seen the photo's I posted under MGB 647 in the MGB section. The captions in my father's album did say they were taken 'off Greece' but I do not know when or where?

Regards

Colin (jonco)

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:30 pm

hi colin [jonco] i have looked closely at the photos sadly i cannot recognise dad but it does not mean he was not on board he was a gunner on the pom poms as he called them one thing of interest i see 670 has a number on the side of her dad told me that the number was removed due to top secret work they did with the partisans and commandos records show that 670 was lost in transit at sea he told me they took her five miles off the coast of malta and sunk her a lot of information that has been recorded does not always make sense maybe we should get our heads together to try and work out the truth about these brave lads dad was the same as your father i once offered to take him to malta so he could take a look around and show me the area he was in but he totally refused some of the stories i have makes one realise just what they did go through and you can't blame them for not wanting to talk about it or go back.

Admin
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Admin » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:06 am

Just to help clarify something here. MTB 670 is recorded as having been lost on passage between Malta and Alexandria on 30 January 1946. It was lost in conjunction with a number of other boats, including MTB 658, which was Len Reynolds' boat — the well known Coastal Forces author.

I was just reading a piece recently where Len Reynolds had investigated the issue some decades after the war to determine what exactly had happened to his old boat. The boats had all been paid off by this time — their crews disbanded — and the boats were effectively being taken to Alexandria to be sold off. Apparently the weather was quite rough for the proposed tow, but when the Senior Officer of the destroyer that was to carry out the operation sought to question the matter, he was told to follow orders, and so set off. Severe weather caused the towing operation to get into difficulty, and the MTBs started to founder in heavy seas. The skeleton crews onboard the MTBs were taken off, and the tow continued until such time as the boats started to sink, at which point they were apparently finished off by gunfire from the escort, to prevent them becoming a hazard at sea.

As Len Reynolds lamented, it was a sad end to some famous fighting ships, yet more fitting he thought that they go down in this fashion than become floating gin palaces at Alexandria.

As for the numbers being covered up, I suppose that is possible, although it wouldn't make much sense operationally. I am aware that censors removed numbers from photographs when taken, which may be what was meant.

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:15 am

Thanks Admin - I received a very similar account on another forum - the author believed they were destined to be become customs vessels.

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Re: MTB 670

Postby Pioneer » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:49 am

These boats were destined to be Egyptian Custom s craft. MTB 651 also being among this group.

HMS Colombo was the Cruiser that was present (November 1944) to receive the surrender of the occupying German forces. She placed an NP (Naval Party) ashore which then organised the port into a forward CF base for the remainder of the war.

Croatian Navy
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Croatian Navy » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:39 pm

HMS COLOMBO was stationed from November 1944 till the end of war in port of town of Zadar (Zara) as a AA ship. The Germans try to sink it with explosive ships in December 1944.

HMS DELHI was stationed from November 1944 till the end of war in port of town of Split (Spalato) as a AA ship. The Germans try to sink it with explosive ships in Februar 1945. It was lightl damadged then.

Pioneer
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Pioneer » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:31 pm

According to Naval History Net HMS Colombo was active in the Aegean Sea during November, then again in December 1944, sailing back to the UK in March 1945.

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:37 pm

thanks admin for that info, it does not surprise me that there is negative response to my comments after ten years of research on 670 by an exsperienced researcher freind of mine and myself we come up against this all the time there has been quite a lot of cover up one thing i can say is my dad always told the truth he had no reason not too. i have in my possesion a photo given to me by a certain war photographer taken from the air when he was in malta the date was 1944 i have compared this with the photo of 670 i believe 670 underwent an upgrade for special opps the picture shows no number this photograph came from a highly respected commander 670 had been fitted with certain equipment which was top secret i remember dad saying he was on watch and a local couple innocently took a photo of the boat he had to report this to the skipper they arrested immediately and taken to the local police station my research put me in contact with a famous media person who was part of the war film crew in malta he confirmed he had been on an mtb with a certain famous general on a top secret mission this my father spoke of again there was no number on the boat i work in the media a lot myself and one day i will piece this story together in memory of my brave father and his shipmates as for what really happened to 670 who knows

Admin
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Admin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:46 pm

Hello David

That's very interesting, and it certainly bears further investigation. I suspect the affair is probably linked to the political goings on at the time in the region, the Allies having started off by backing the Chetniks, before deciding to throw their weight behind Tito's Partisans instead. I also suspect the equipment, which was presumably visible and could be photographed, would be the radar fitted to Dog boats, which would have been top secret at the time, and something they would not have wanted to fall into the hands of the Germans.

Just to add: there are lots of books available on the subject of Special Operations Executive (SOE) that would likely cover the campaign in Yugoslavia amongst the Partisans, so I'm sure it would be possible to determine which special missions likely involved the Coastal Forces boats.

This primer from the BBC web site: Partisans: War in the Balkans 1941 - 1945 provides a useful introduction to this complex subject.

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:32 pm

thanks once again admin, just to clarify your suspisions you are correct about the radar my photo shows the boat with a radar system the same as we would see on modern boats of today it also shows four large areials which when i asked the commander who took the photo what they were for he informed me they were radio control areials which were used to control four radio controlled smaller boats filled with high explosive used against the enemy shipping this we are still researching this making her the mother ship in control and so the story continues

Peter
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Peter » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:56 am

Interestingly the Radar Dome shown on the photograph of MTB670 was of the latest American design Radar known as PPI -- Plan Position Indicator -- which was first seen when the 28th Flot. of 70ft Vospers arrived from America in October 1944 and became operational in the Adriatic ( Ancona)in early 1945 replacing the now paid off 24th Flott. This Radar was the first type of indicator that displayed a 360 degree display of information making easy to identify targets and to use for accurate navigation , very useful in the narrow channels around the Dalmation Islands , unlike the equipment fitted to most of the boats which was totally unsuitable to those conditions , viewing a 6inch indicator screen with a horizontal trace looking for vertcal blips ( like the hospital heart monitor ) and turning the aerial mounted high on the mast head by a hand wheel in the W/T cabin . from zero to 170 starboard then back to zero to 170 Port . Which was then known as RDF Radio Direction Finder we then become known from A/B RDF to A/B Radar

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am

hi petro thanks for the info i am no expert on these things no more than i am on a computer if i can work out how to send the photo through so you can see what i mean i will do so i still think there is something special going on in this story which i am determined to get to the bottom of i was talking to mum the other day [now in her eighties bless her] she remembered dad saying there were 27 men all told in the running of the boat dad's info was when at sea they carried a crew of 13 the boat was fitted with two merlin spitfire engines with a top speed of around 40 knots i have a freind coming round over the weekend who is good on computers so i will try and get some help from him and see if i can send the photo through i will also pass on your info to my researcher thanks again

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:23 pm

photo of mtb we discussed supplied by war photographer
Attachments
IMG_0002.jpg
MTB 670

Admin
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Re: MTB 670

Postby Admin » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:14 am

That's an interesting photo David. Those with greater knowledge of D-Class boats may be better able to comment on the nature of the four aerials that are visible, as well as on the type of radar equipment carried. But comparing this photo to the known one of MTB 670 that jonco has posted, obvious differences strike the eye immediately. For a start no torpedo tubes, and the wheelhouse gun bins with their supporting structure have all been removed. At first I thought this may have been one of the earlier D-Class MGBs until I observed the scalloped insets on the hull for torpedo tubes*, that the later dedicated MTBs had. I know that some D-Class boats were retained after the war, and operated into the 1950s with their torpedo tubes and additional bridge armament removed — as this boat has — effectively reprising their earliest role as an MGB. Obviously MTB 670 having been lost in 1946, this can't be the case here, but do we know for sure that this photograph is of MTB 670?

* Addendum: Although the earliest D-Class boats were designed without scalloped insets forward, later Dog boats did have them fitted, whether equipped for an MTB or MGB role. This included those MGBs that operated in the Mediterranean, which unlike their counterparts in British waters, never acquired torpedo tubes. So there were MGBs with scalloped insets but no torpedo tubes.

jonco
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Re: MTB 670

Postby jonco » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:18 am

Further to Admins comments - do we have a time slot for this photo. I believe that my photos were taken between Oct `44 and July `45 - these being the dates written on my father's medal record. As I stated initially his actual service record did not record him on MTB 670 but on ML563 until July 45 but ML563 was lost in Aug `44.

davidddnfp
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Re: MTB 670

Postby davidddnfp » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:20 am

thanks admin and jonco for your comments concerning the photo you can see my dilema due to dad's info it does tie in with what he said as for the actual date taken when i visited the commander who supplied the photo we were interveiwing him on film about his war exsperiences he showed us off camera a photo album of some of his war phtography the reason for this he did not want to show some of the grewsom shots he had taken this photo was in the album underneath written in old pencil was MALTA 1944 he explained he took the photograph while on aireal manouvers in the area hence i asked if it would be possible to have a copy he took a great interest in what we were trying to do so he had a meeting with my researcher who was able to get quite a lot of info from him intend to have a meetihg this afternoon with my researcher see what i come home with


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